But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities…
The falling leaves speak to us —
I. OF THE ABIDING SUPERINTENDENCE OF GOD. "Leaves have their time to fall." They do not come and go at haphazard. They have lived, and now they fade and die, subject to His laws who sweetly ordereth all that is. The orderly return of the seasons tells how this is no haphazard world. God keeps His hand on all forces, material and spiritual.
II. OF FULFILLED PURPOSE. Just as neither their rise nor fall, their springing nor fading was accidental, so their life is not a vague, aimless thing. There was design in their creation, and as they silently sink to the earth they speak to us of a life's work done. What have they done?
1. They have given added charm and beauty to the world. Here is a mission we may all well covet to fill, and which we may all fill. Whatever our position in life, however poor or lowly, we may so be and live that this shall be morally a fairer world because we are in it.
2. By their shade and shelter they have rendered valuable service to man and beast. So many around us arc weary under the burden and heat of life's day. Many a struggling man, and many a frail, lonely, overwrought woman knows all too well what this life-weariness means. Let the mission of the leaves be ours.
3. They have played an important part in purifying the atmosphere. They say to us, "So live that when you fade and fall like us you may have done your part to make the world purer."
III. OF LIFE'S CLOSE.
(R. M. Spoor.)
Parallel VersesKJV: But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.